The drive from my home to work includes a roundabout at one of the intersections. These traffic circles are a reasonably new thing in this part of the country. But now they seem to be sprouting up everywhere. And like most new things, not everyone knows the best way to use them.
I have to admit I have gotten frustrated many mornings when someone in front of me comes to a complete stop before entering when there is not a car in sight. Or when someone won’t go unless it is perfectly clear. Then there are those that don’t pay attention to the lanes, sliding from one to the other and turning right from the far left lane.
In an ideal world traffic would flow in and out, merging and exiting with little or no stopping. We’d all move along quickly and easily, confident of ourselves and of others. But it never really works that way, does it?
The last time I had to wait for invisible cars to proceed before the car in front of me would enter the circle it occurred to me that the roundabout is amazingly symbolic of life. There is an ideal of how it should go, but reality is much different.
As we move through life we often get frustrated with those around us. Why aren’t they changing? Why are they behaving so badly? Why don’t they just do everything the right way?
But like at the roundabout, as we move through life we sometimes come upon new situations and are unclear about how to act. Or, our fears make us freeze, imagining dire consequences and dangers that may or may not actually exist. When we do try new things we often do it clumsily, having to make quick “lane changes” when things go badly.
There are a host of other things that can cause the traffic of life to not flow fluidly. Inattentiveness, distraction and even lack of consideration for others can interfere with our daily life.
The next time you feel frustrated with yourself or those around you, think about the roundabout. We know how it should flow but maybe that person in front of you doesn’t or is learning for the first time. Maybe there are specters of past experiences that create fears. Maybe they just are taking a moment to figure out where they are going.
Be patient. Be understanding. Remember, that person could be you. When someone isn’t being just the way you want them to be think about the roundabout. While it would be nice if it flowed just like we imagine it should, acknowledge that there are often many factors that can prevent that from happening.
And the next time you get backed up at a roundabout and feel like screaming at the seemingly parked car in front of you, try doing what I like to do. Remember this video and take a moment to laugh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ljFfL-mL70